Court Case Denies Warner Bros. and DC Comics Superman Rights
The Siegel Family Has "Successfully Recaptured" Rights to Early Superman Depictions
Even Superman isn't indestructible. Variety reports that on Wednesday, a judge ruled that co-creator Jerry Siegel's family have "successfully recaptured" rights to early depictions of Superman, leaving the superhero and his story in bits and pieces to be divided up. This includes depictions of his origins on planet Krypton, assorted family members and narratives. DC still owns specific powers and narrative expansions that came about after Action Comics No. 1 (the first appearance of Superman), but by 2013, the copyright for Action Comics No. 1 will be in the hands of the Shusters and Siegels entirely.
The Variety report says: "This means the Siegels...now control depictions of Superman's origins from the planet Krypton, his parents Jor-El and Lora, Superman as the infant Kal-El, the launching of the infant Superman into space by his parents as Krypton explodes and his landing on Earth in a fiery crash." As a result, according to this item on Variety, Warner Bros. and DC Comics now must determine what percentage of financial profits they have obtained since 1999, in regards to these elements of Superman's story, that will now go to the Siegel family.
What all this means is that Warner Bros. have to go into production on a new Superman movie by 2011 and it looks like that movie will not center around Superman's origins. And since that was already covered in the 1978 movie (and countless other adaptations for the small screen) and since everyone already knows Superman's backstory, maybe that's a good thing.